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Have Hypertension? Make Your Move

Get moving to get stress under control.

Did you know that more than one billion adults live with high blood pressure? In other words, there is a high likelihood that you or someone you love is affected by hypertension (high blood pressure). It matters because this condition is the leading risk factor for heart disease. Sometimes, people struggling with hypertension are entirely unaware of their condition.

Significant research has suggested that physical activity improves the lives of those with high blood pressure. But recently, researchers conducted the most extensive study on device-measured physical activity and its impact on those with hypertension.

Researchers analyzed health data on 39,294 participants with hypertension and data from wearing accelerometers. The investigators then categorized participant activity levels into four categories. The categories ranged from moderate to vigorous physical activity. Looking at the data, investigators discovered some essential news:

If you have high blood pressure:

  • The more you move, the less likely you will experience any heart disease incident or death!
  • Any movement makes a difference, but no movement leaves you at a higher risk for heart disease or death!
  • No amount of activity was considered “too much activity” or created more risk for those living with hypertension. Exercise is safe and suitable for you, even with hypertension.

Other research suggests the same for those even without high blood pressure!

Move it, Move it!

If you have high blood pressure – your doctor will agree – a dose of exercise will keep you healthier and happier! So, the real question is, how do you build an excuse-proof exercise plan?

  1. Know and name your motivation: Your commitment to change starts with understanding that your life could be in danger if you don’t get more movement. Commit to exercising for yourself but also for your friends and family. Write it down and stick it to your mirror, “I’m exercising because I’m choosing life!”
  2. Tell someone: If you are trying to get moving on your own, you may not hold yourself accountable well. Tell your friends and family about your commitment to move more. Tell them to ask you about it in the future. Hire a fitness trainer or join a gym! Whatever you do, connect with people to hold you accountable.
  3. Start easy: You don’t have to commit to running a marathon to start building in small life changes. Set your watch for 30-minute reminders to move while you are at work. Take the stairs. Park further away. And share your life changes with those friends.
  4. Build in time: According to the research, the more you move, the healthier you will be. So, pick times in your day and add exercise to your calendar. You will be less likely to let the day slide away without exercise by scheduling and committing time to it.

Don’t sit around waiting for things to change. Give yourself a dose of exercise! Your heart and your loved ones will thank you!

Curious about more heart-healthy living? Check out our blog and download our app here!

Resources

Prospective Associations of Accelerometer-Assessed Physical Activity With Mortality and Incidence of Cardiovascular Disease Among Adults With Hypertension: The UK Biobank Study

World Hypertension Day 2020

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